Monday, May 24, 2010

Dear Diary

In the second instalment of our Dear Diary series we afford ourselves an exclusive sneak peak into the life of a player who has seemingly been in the news for reasons more bad than good in recent times. You do the math:

May 10
Big game tomorrow. Through some miracle we actually still have a chance of making it to the semis. To be honest though, with me out of form, and the Aussies letting the world know that we still can't play bounce, I don't see the point. Had the usual pre-game team meeting. Usual shit was said. Thankfully that clown Jadeja has finally been kicked off the team. What do people see in him? Such a waste of space. Even then, we've got one bloke who can't hit the ball unless it bounces with 1 metre of where he's standing. I'm out of form. Gauti's out of form. Vijay (or is it Murali, I still don't know?) eats too much idli sambar to be any good and there's a shortage of milk in St Lucia, so Dhoni will probably flop. Everyone knows what's going to happen. Let's just enjoy the beach, down some liquids and check out the scenery - and I don't mean of the floral variety. We're all going to cop it when we get back anyway, lets just live a little while we still have the chance.

May 11 (Pre-match)
Doing my usual prep for the game. I got kitted up in my hotel room to do some visualisation, but then I was really uncomfortable. The numpties must've turned the heat up too high in the hotel dryer coz my India shirt didn't fit properly. Way too tight. I know I've put on a few kilos over the past couple of years (after all I am a senior player now), but I'm still no Ramesh Powar. I mean look at Kapil paaji, he hardly had a beach body and he was one of the greatest ever. People really should mind their own business. Either way, I'll still pick up more models than any crap blogger who thinks I'm too fat.

May 11 (Post-match)
Shit hit the fan. 7 of us got called in for private meetings with the coach. Even this idiot thinks I'm too fat. He reckons he's fitter than me. WTF!! Just coz I drink a little, party a little, doesn't mean I lose my natural talent. It's not rugby where we all need to look like Teri Maa Ki. What does the coach expect? Everyone knew I was out of form. They knew picking me was a gamble. Hell, me out of form is still better than that Jadeja in form. I think coach was just frustrated. Mid-life crisis maybe. Whateva. Last night before heading back, gonna make it a big one!

May 12
Last night was a waste. It started off pretty well, we were all giving Nehra crap about how he looks like a horse and Jadeja was about to cry because we made it obvious that he was the only player to have lost his country not 1, but 2 world cups, and then some idiots started having a go at us. They must've been call centre workers, bloody fools were putting on some weird American accent. You're Indian, just talk normally, no? Everything was fine until they were concentrating on Jadeja & Pathan, then one clown called me fat. And I lost it. Obviously I'd had a little to drink so the emotions were flowing. I would've punched that guy's lights out, but some bouncer saved him just in time.

Some Aussie players were sitting in another corner, but they saw what happened. Nothing would have come out, coz no punches were thrown, just some swearing, word is that the same idiot who got Teri Maa Ki kicked out of the team blabbed all about it to the media. We really are gonna cop it now!

May 16
Coming through customs today, some bloody customs officer thought I had something hidden under my shirt. I was like WTF!! I said it was only my frickin stomach. He had the gall to tell me it looked too big to be a stomach. He even lifted my shirt to have a look! What's with these people?!?!?

May 18
Apparently I've received a show cause notice. What notice? From whom? The bloody BCCI tells the media it's going to do something and then actually does it a week later. And what are we going to tell the BCCI anyway? That Nehra needs braces and Jadeja is a waste of space and should be offered to Pakistan as Sania's dowry? Dad says not to worry coz I'm the Sher of Punjab and this is only minor. It's not like they're gonna sack me from the team! Hell Lalit's got them in so much trouble they won't even bother with us. Anyway, Priety's in town with some friends. Gonna be lots of drinking tonight. I love alcohol, its legal, gets you happy and doesn't make you fat.

Continued >> >>

Friday, May 21, 2010

Seriously? No Way!

He is the preordained second-most-powerful-man-in-Australia. At the very least, one could reasonably expect him to be near the forefront of thought leadership of the patch he prowls. At a bare minimum, he should understand the tactics, temperament and tempo demanded by various formats of our great game. I thought all this to be reasonably reasonable, until I stumbled upon this gem. Michael Clarke believes an attacking approach may be required to succeed at T20 cricket. No frickkin way! You can't be serious! Surely not!

That I believe Cameron White to be the best man to assume the throne on Ricky Ponting's departure is no secret. Michael Clarke's upbringing in the scarecely-intellectual western suburbs of Sydney has not an iota of influence on my line thinking. Nor does his questionable former choice for life partnership. Hell I'm even willing to forgive and forget that he was allegedly instrumental in shunting into oblivion the single most talented all-round cricketer that Australia had (until then) produced in the last 2 decades. My preference for White over Clarke has everything to do with the fact that Mick just doesn't have it all together upstairs.

Clarke, IMHO, is all emotion and no intellect. He's perfect as a member of the leadership team to raise spirits when the chips are down (and somewhat irrelevant when matchfixing scum from the opposition are at work). He's great at slip, gully, cover and any other location the ball may travel on a cricket field. I'm sure he also has the nous to offer a nugget or two of great intelligence (of the informational, rathen than intellectual variety) to the captain of the day. But, more than anything, this latest gem proves that the bloke is a step or two behind where he ought to be.

However, as a Team India fan, it is with much glee that I realise that the wise men who staked their cricketing reputations on Clarke's leadership abilities will not revoke their decision. They have invested far too much in Mick for an admission of failure to even enter their minds. Here's to imagining what could have been of the Aussies had they been provided the leadership their talents deserve and demand.

RIP the records of the next generation of Australian cricketers unfortunate enough to suffer under the captaincy of Michael Clarke.

Continued >> >>

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hooking & Pulling Should Be Left To The Experts

The old curse has returned (some may argue that it never actually went away, just that it was shovelled under the carpet for long enough to be "out of sight, out mind"). The rib-tickler may once again help in forcing India out of a global competition on foreign soil. However, the inability to play the short ball is only a symptom. The real malaise, should Team India fail to progress in the 2010 edition of the World T20, will be the batsmen's inability to think their way to success - yet again.

Any batsman who tells you they love facing the short ball at upwards of 145 km/h is lying. Facing Shaun Tait and Dirk Nannes in full flight on a remotely helpful deck is not nearly as easy as it looks on TV. Unlike Mitchell Johnson who is fast but predictable, Nannes and Tait possess an X-factor that makes them particularly difficult for a batsman to pick up and play when they're on song.

All this does not mean Australia's pace arsenal cannot be faced, quelled and even conquered. Brendan McCullum showed in the second match of the recent T20 series against the Aussies in Christchurch that the pace and bounce must be turned into the batsmen's advantage, for very few people can pull and hook like Ricky Ponting and Kevin Pietersen and in the middle of a pressure cooker international match is not the time to experiment and learn.

MS Dhoni's "fight fire with fire" attitude has achieved him much success and earned him many plaudits since 2007. However, getting caught with your pants down will only serve to take some of the sheen off his fast-building legacy. I wonder if Team India has seen the footage of McCullum's assault on the Aussies earlier this year? While McCullum's freakish scoops hogged the limelight in all post-match bulletins from that day, Team India must look beyond the glitz and realise that the Kiwis used the pace and the bounce to play plenty of up-and-unders that brought runs untold. If there's one shot that Indians play well, it is the ramp shot on the on-side between the 'keeper and point. You complete the maths.

Team India's re-found predicament calls for real fire fighting equipment: cool heads. If there's anyone with the ability to bring about this cool change, it is Captain Cool, Dhoni. Now, is the best time to start.

Continued >> >>
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